Muhlenberg College

Allentown, Pa.
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Wednesday, March 1, 2006
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For the second year in a row the Muhlenberg women’s lacrosse team hosted a ranked team in the season opener. This time the Mules came out victorious over No. 18 Drew, 10-8.

Muhlenberg looked to have the game under control midway into the second half after sophomore Taylor Armstrong assisted on a pair of
Ruth Morrongiello
Morrongiello follows through on her first goal against the Rangers’ second-team All-America goalie.
goals – one each to senior Shannon Donohue and junior Katie Reimann – just 13 seconds apart, giving the team a 9-5 lead with 17:43 left in the game.

Drew made things interesting with a trio of goals in less than three minutes to draw the game within one.

The Mules called timeout to settle down and regain focus. It worked, as they not only controlled the ball and the tempo for a majority of the final 6:34, but they also added an insurance goal with 31 seconds left.

“Coach told us we just had to keep focused,” said freshman Ruth Morrongiello, who scored three goals. “We were getting a little jittery, but after that talk our minds changed. We realized that if we kept under control, we could win this game.”

Morrongiello made her presence felt in her first collegiate game by fighting through defenders and picking up a game-high eight ground balls. She scored her first goal 10 minutes into the game when she faked a drop back and took a shot with her defender off-balance. Her second one came just 1:17 into the second half on a full sprint at the Rangers’ goalie. Morrongiello capped off her hat trick when she took a pass in stride from Reimann to give Muhlenberg a 7-4 lead with 24:13 left in the second half.

“It was a little nerve-racking at first,” noted Morrongiello. “But I just tried to think of it as a high school game at the college level, and that pushed the nervousness out. Our whole team was jittery heading into the game, but that helped us focus more and really show our potential.”

Donohue had two goals and assisted on a pair of goals by classmate Steph Light. Senior Courtney Tapkas became the 23rd player in Centennial Conference history to record 200 points as she collected a goal and an assist.

Morrongiello wasn’t the only freshman to make an impact in her debut. Caroline Shadood stopped eight shots in goal, and Sara Hiller assisted on the Mules’ fourth goal.

“We just wanted to think of them as any other team,” said Morrongiello of a Drew squad that reached the “Sweet 16” last year. “Just because the team is ranked higher than you, doesn’t mean you can’t come out and beat them.”

That’s a philosophy the Mules will want to keep up as they have two more scheduled contests against teams ranked in the top 20 in the preseason poll.

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Last updated March 1, 2006